May 3, 2016 – August 1, 2016
“Outdoor/Indoor”presents photographic portraits of women of color within a site specific installation that cumulatively challenges the concept of fixed cultural landscapes. The stylized portraits reflect the constructed identities of their culturally diverse subjects and the installation mitigates the subjects’ related feelings of displacement. The placement and positioning of the installation within Marcus Garvey Park creates a discourse between the surrounding environment and the botanical motifs present in the work, echoing the discordant tension between indoor and outdoor space, inclusion and exclusion, and authenticity and artifice established.
Photographs from the series “A Woman, Phenomenally” form the foundation of the installation and are focused on female subjects who can all be categorized generally as “women of color” despite the specifics of their identity. The portraits combine the use of props, sets, and digital compositing to create constructed environments, informed by the subjects’ personal narratives, that mirror the ambiguous social space that multi-ethnic/multi-cultural women of color navigate in reality. Engaging with the language of historical representations of people of color, the work applies a visual language that intentionally obscures the perception of authenticity and artifice and acknowledges identity as a construct.
The photographs are incorporated into a contextualizing multi-media installation that references a domestic space by using cultural signifiers and decor elements that relate to the subjects’ cultural identity and recall memories of my own fluid definition of home. The immersive environment created encourages a deeper relation to the subjects and their related narratives, moderated through a presentation that universalizes their experiences.
The site of interest for this project is the north wall of the Marcus Garvey Park Pool building. Custom wallpaper patterns are designed to be paired with each image, incorporating botanical prints of flowers that relate to the subject’s individual narrative and/or cultural identity to impart added context. The image and wallpaper patterns will be printed on adhesive vinyl and mounted onto the wall. Additionally, a mixture of real and artificial vines will be suspended from the top of the wall overhang above the piece, encroaching on the frame of the images below and effectively obscuring the perception of outdoor and indoor space. This ambiguous and precarious interpretation of “home” concedes that for many, the notion of home is rooted within the self as geographical and cultural landscapes shift in the periphery.
Tiffany Smith is a visual artist from the Caribbean diaspora who uses photography, video, and installation to create conceptually based work focused on identity, representation, cultural ambiguity, and community. Smith received a BA in Photography from Savannah College of Art and Design and an MFA in Photo, Video and Related Media from School of Visual Arts, NY. Smith’s work has been exhibited internationally and throughout the United States including shows at The National Gallery of Jamaica during the 2014 Jamaica Biennial, Photoville 2015, New York, International Photo Festival, Leiden, Netherlands, and Photo NOLA, New Orleans. Tiffany Smith is currently based in Brooklyn, NY.